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Greater Investment in Education, Nutrition Key for Overcoming Health, Sanitation Crises, Deputy Secretary-General Says on World Neglected Tropical Diseases Day

Following are UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed’s remarks at the “Reframing Neglect”:  a fine art and documentary photography exhibition to celebrate World Neglected Tropical Diseases Day, in New York today:

Thank you for putting a spotlight on World Neglected Tropical Diseases Day, with powerful artwork by Aida Muluneh.

The COVID-19 pandemic was a stark reminder of the shortcomings of our healthcare systems.  From research on rare diseases to social inequalities, to access and investments, our preparedness and response are completely off the mark.

The World Health Organization (WHO) Neglected Tropical Disease Roadmap 2021-2030 takes on this challenge and calls for interventions to mainstream neglected tropical diseases.  We can only overcome the health and sanitation crises by increasing investments in education, nutrition, water and sanitation, and adopting a One Health Approach.

With adequate investments, countries can tackle neglected tropical diseases at their root and prevent their spread, whilst developing stronger health-care systems and sanitary infrastructure, in particular for the most vulnerable.

There is progress we can build on.  More than 1 billion people were treated for at least one neglected tropical disease each year from 2015 through to 2019.  As of 2022, 47 countries have already eliminated at least one neglected tropical disease — most in the last 10 years; 798 million people were treated in 2020 and 888 million in 2021.

Countries must continue their commitments to delivering quality neglected tropical disease services to affected populations.  Such programmes have indeed been severely affected by COVID-19.  But this trend can be reversed — we can and must bring health care to everyone.

Today’s exhibition sheds light on neglected diseases through art.  I extend my appreciation and warm congratulations to the artist and curator, Aida Muluneh, and call on all of us to act decisively to put an end to neglected tropical diseases.

For information media. Not an official record.